Episode #16: Chantal Givens
November 9, 2020
Chantal Givens is a Paralympian. She has one hand. Throughout her childhood Chantal’s parents treated her like a regular kid. She was encouraged to, and she liked to try all kinds of things as she was growing up. Her first competitive experiences came in the sport of diving, a sport she was part of for ten years, eventually competing at nationals against able bodied athletes (there was no para sport division). It was diving that would lead her to Triathlon, but not in the way you might think.
Chantal explains how she got into Triathlon, “There was a World Triathlon Championship in Edmonton, where I grew up and the organizers actually contacted our diving team to help volunteer at the event. I ended up handing water bottles out at the finish line to Simon Whitfield who had been the Olympic Champion. So, in the back of my mind, that was what I wanted to do next.” And do it she would, but the road was bumpy and full of challenges such as wrapping her training schedule around her job as a teacher and her role as a mom as well as modifying her bike so it was adapted for an athlete with one hand. She also experienced major injuries that almost cost her a spot on the Paralympic team in Rio, where Paratriathlon was making its Paralympic debut. In her words, “I did what I had to do,” including avoiding the occasional glass of wine because it may have delayed her recovery by an hour – and she needed every hour due to the proximity of an injury to the end of her qualification window. Chantal competed in Rio in 2016 and finished 8th. She did so by being adaptable and open to opportunities, an attitude she carries with her everyday as a mom, a spouse, a teacher, and an overall inspirational human.
Please join us for Podcast #16 to hear more of Chantal’s amazing journey to the Paralympics and beyond.
“The harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it.”